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Postdoctoral Fellow

Jessica Osterhout

Postdoctoral Fellow

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Research

Thermoregulation is fundamental for survival, and even slight changes in body temperature have a dramatic effect on vital processes such as metabolism, sleep, appetite, and thirst. During an immune response the body temperature set point is increased to generate a fever and febrile patients often become fatigued, antisocial, and exhibit other sickness-related behaviors. Specific brain areas are thought to control body temperature by triggering various mechanisms that produce or dissipate heat, but the mechanism by which thermoregulation is altered to generate a fever is unknown.

Dr. Jessica Osterhout is a postdoctoral fellow in Catherine Dulac’s lab, where she will use recently developed tools for genetic profiling and circuit analysis to molecularly identify fever-inducing neurons and map their connectivity patterns, thereby gaining new insight into how neurons in the brain contribute to the immune response as well as how the the neural immune response alters other homeostatic and social functions or behaviors. Dr. Osterhout received the Jane Coffin Child’s Memorial Postdoctoral Fellowship for this work. She received her PhD with Dr. Andrew Huberman at the University of California, San Diego where she discovered several molecular mechanisms that regulate axon targeting in the developing visual system.